Liza Minnelli has officially outlived Twitter’s nightmare of a double verification idea. First proposed by new overlord, excuse us, owner Elon Musk, double verification was an attempt by Musk to solve a problem he created in the first place. Early last week, Musk announced plans to charge everyone $8 a month for Twitter Blue, an arbitrary number he came up with after a public debate with author Stephen King. Among the perks of Twitter Blue, anyone who paid the $8 would be given a verified checkmark for their account — an idea that critics quickly pointed out could easily incentivize impersonation and scams.
“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people!” Musk tweeted. “Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity.” As an answer to the many, many concerns users had about the Twitter Blue plan, Musk later announced that public figures would be given a secondary tag below their names to prevent impersonations. “This will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators,” he added.
That second verification level began its rollout Wednesday morning, appearing on select and seemingly unrelated accounts under their handles. While Musk’s original announcement was met with divided support, Wednesday’s implementation did the impossible, uniting Twitter under a common thought: This looks stupid.
Less than two hours after users began noticing official tags underneath verified accounts, they began to disappear. Musk claimed ownership over the decision, abruptly reversing days of policy statements in a reply tweet — of all things.
“I just killed it,” he tweeted in a reply to producer Marques Brownlee. “Blue check will be the great leveler.”
There has been a common misconception that people who currently have verified Twitter accounts, like politicians, celebs and journalists, represent an elite class. Musk has positioned his entire leadership of Twitter, its purchase, its firings, even its new features, as a move to level an ongoing class struggle.
“Widespread verification will democratize journalism & empower the voice of the people,” Musk tweeted earlier in the month, doubling down on his idea of bringing power to the people. The problem? The billionaire doesn’t realize which side of the fight he’s on. His takeover of Twitter has been consistently marred by bizarre policy changes and rollbacks, including the banning of a Twitter account that followed his stated rules for parody accounts. For Musk, everything is personal — an attitude that can’t bode well for Twitter’s future.
“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months,” Musk tweeted today, Nov. 9. “We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.” It might be possible that what doesn’t work is Musk.